Day At The Track

Pridecrest goes for a hat trick

10:28 AM 15 Feb 2020 NZDT
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Pridecrest, harness racing
Pridecrest in prior win
Dee Leftwich photo

Pridecrest will look to make it a hat trick as he heads the cast in Saturday night's featured $7,400 Open Trot at Cal Expo Harness.

The main event will be the third on an 11-race card presented by Watch and Wager LLC and things will get underway at 6:10 p.m.

Pridecrest is a 6-year-old son of Angus Hall who is owned by Heather Mathews, takes his lessons from Steve Wiseman and has Mooney Svendsen giving directions. He comes into this assignment with 37 wins from his 148 starts with a 1:53 2/5 mark and $313,000 in his account.

The dark-hued sidewheeler is coming off back-to-back wire jobs at the top level. Pridecrest took them all the way with Wiseman at the controls on January 24, then came back two weeks later to win comfortably as the 3-5 choice with Svendsen in the bike.

 

Mandeville competes for owner/driver/trainer Gerry Longo, and has recorded a win and a second from his two appearances. He's looking for his 24th lifetime score with $221,000 in earnings.

Mandeville started 2020 with a powerful win at this Open level going a mile and a half, then missed a start before having to settle for second behind Pridecrest after that one jogged on the front end last week. He figures to be tighter for this assignment.

Pridecrest and Mandeville have the outside two posts in the field and will be challenged by Majestic Lady Jo, Dougs Hobby Horse, Windsun Galaxie and Banker's For All.

One Gorgeous Gal proves wild ride

To say last week's debut victory by the 3-year-old pacing filly One Gorgeous Gal was eventful would be a major understatement.

Owned by Billie Schwartz and Junior Wilkinson and trained by Wilkinson, the dark-hued miss was sent off at 19-1, no doubt some of that lack of support coming from her pre-race antics.

"I had never been behind her before," related Roberts. "Luke Plano had qualified her and was supposed to drive, but he had a horse of his own in the race.

"Junior told me she was nice filly, but she could be a touch on the lazy side. It was also going to be her first time under the lights."

Roberts explained that about five steps after she set foot on the track, One Gorgeous Gal started kicking and became uncontrollable, including shying when the outrider tried to lend some assistance.

"She settled down by the time the gate rolled," her pilot noted.

The Schwartz/Wilkinson homebred left cleanly, was out and moving before the half while racing second over, swung out for the drive and was up by a half-length for the $41 upset.

"It's good that we came out, because a horse made a break and scattered the field," Roberts said. "All things considered, it was a pretty amazing performance and Junior was ecstatic."

Taking note of what went on before and during the race, track announcer Gary Siebel proclaimed as they hit the finish line, "From the ridiculous to the sublime!"

One Gorgeous Gal was scheduled to make her second start on Friday night's program.

One Gorgeous Gal was one of three wins over the weekend for Roberts, who also guided He Grins Again and Getter Queen Flush to victory for trainer George Reider.

Roberts has landed in the charmed enclosure following 16 of his 101 trips to the post at this meeting, and it's unlikely any of those performances was quite an interesting as the one turned in by One Gorgeous Gal.

By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness

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